Can My Employer Fire Me Because I am Higher Risk for a Severe Case of COVID-19 Due to My Age?

Whether an employer has the right to fire an individual because they are at high risk of developing COVID-19 is complex. If your doctor has informed you that you may be at higher risk than others, and will likely develop severe symptoms if not treated, then your employer could be breaking the law by firing you. Furthermore, no matter what age group you fall into – as long as your doctor says that COVID-19 is more likely to affect those in certain age groups – employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their health status.
As the pandemic ravages the USA, statistics have shown that older workers above 65 years are at a higher risk. It has also become problematic for the group above to work from home. Before the pandemic, most of the aged workers could not telecommute.

What should employers do with these workers who cannot telecommute nor get to work due to the heightened risk of the virus?

Special Covid 19 measures for the aged workers should be taken.
Precautions include increased handwashing, wearing face masks during contact with coworkers or customers.
A temporary suspension of work should be considered for the aged workers until COVID-19 has decreased in severity and there are adequate measures to reduce its spread at their workplace. There is no need to fire them since they pose a minimal risk to others as long as precautions are taken.
It will also help if employees who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 ask their doctor about how it affects older adults so that employers could better understand what measures must be done to prevent further spreading of this pandemic among other employees.

How can people assess the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in their workplace and plan for preventive measures?

With the help of a word-related wellbeing and security guide, Directors should do quick danger evaluations to decide the chance of openness hazard to set up preventive measures.

Low exposure risk jobs

Low exposure risk jobs like situating in a remote area or working with the cut-down open door should not require such preventive measures. A director may ask for “at-risk” employees to wear masks, gloves, and so on as indicated by the nature of work and character of risk identified through danger evaluation.
The precautionary measure might be asked from those diagnosed with Covid 19, like wearing face masks during contact with coworkers or customers at workplaces where they are employed.

Medium exposure risk job

Medium exposure risk job might need an installation of hand cleanser and sanitizer to ensure employees’ hands are clean before touching their face.
There needs to be clear communication between management, executives, and directors about taking precautions during this pandemic. Directors will then ensure these plans are put in place by the employees to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

High exposure risk job

High exposure risk job might require its employees to wear masks, gloves, and so on, as indicated by the nature of work and character of risk identified through danger evaluation.
Precautions are required due to high exposure risk jobs like situating in a remote area or working with the cut-down open door should not be necessary. Directors may ask for “at-risk” employees to wear face masks, gloves, etc. This will reduce the chance of spreading COVID 19 among other workers. However, these precautions do not permanently eradicate potential hazards.

Legal issues facing aged people at a risk of Covid 19

There are several legal issues facing people with Covid 19 who are older adults. First, employers cannot discriminate against their employees based on health status or age. Second, directors can ask “at risk” workers to wear face masks and gloves as necessary for preventive measures, but these precautions do not permanently eradicate potential danger. Thirdly, there needs to be clear communication between management about what precautionary steps must be taken during this pandemic so that it does not cause panic among other workers at the workplace. Panic could lead to further spread, especially if no action were taken earlier on when reports of COVID-19 first emerged in workplaces where those diagnosed with COVID19 previously worked.
In conclusion, all employers should take precautions to shield their aged workers at a higher risk of Covid 19 from contracting the disease. Firing them is against the law.

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